August 27, 2017

Mes pensées et la réalité possible (My thoughts and the possible reality)

Bonjour! J'espère que vous avez un beau dimanche. I hope you are having a lovely Sunday. Vous m'avez manqué. I have missed you, or as it translates in French - you have been missing from me. As a result of one of my courses this semester I have been thinking a lot about language and how it interacts with culture and the way we see the world. You have been missing from me. It's such a beautiful phrase, expressing that without you I have not been whole. You are an important part of who I am. I just love that.

I am thankful for this time to write. I'm sitting here with a hot cup of coffee, the sun is flooding the apartment, and all is calm. I am very much at peace. For me, it is so important that I have found this time as last week marked la rentrée, the start of the school year, for my 4th graders and for me as I continue my journey as a student, following my dream of achieving fluency in French. If I said I was balancing all of this with total grace and ease, I would be lying to you and lying to myself. This transition has been a challenge, but I am grateful for the guidance of so many as I consider the best way to organize my time, pursue my passions, and remain gentle with myself. 

Today I am going to share some of the thoughts (mes pensées) that have been streaming through my head during this busy time, and the inspirational advice I have found that is helping me to reframe my outlook and find more of that grace and ease I am striving for. 

Ma pensée: I can't stop everything and go for a run with you. I'll never get all of this done. 

La réalité possible: Wednesday was my first evening of juggling 4th grade and my university studies. I was sitting on the couch (frantically) working, and Tony walked in smiling and said immediately: "Go get changed, we're going for a run!" You already know what my initial reaction was... but I overcame that negativity, laced up my sneakers, and hit the trail. The air was cool, the Hamilton soundtrack reminded me to "rise up", and for about 30 minutes I just completely let go. What did I discover? My work was waiting for me right where I'd left it, and I was able to finish it with a lot more calm and a lot less resentment. This moment of self care was completely spontaneous (I want to do more of this), but for me I know scheduling time for calm and being intentional about my self care will make a big difference as I navigate through la rentrée, and the rest of the year for that matter. I'm committing to two yoga classes a week. I sign up on Sunday and schedule it into my planner just like I would a meeting or an appointment. These things have to be just as much of a priority as everything else, and I know as I saw on Wednesday that tending to my body and mind will only increase my productivity. 

Ma pensée: SEVEN novels en français in one semester?! Plan on not seeing me for a while. 

La réalité possible: This one really got me. And I guarantee the time I spent worrying about it could have gotten me through a considerable chunk of a novel. Thank goodness for Carrie Anne of French is Beautiful and the support communities she has developed and fostered. On the French is Beautiful Book Club Facebook page, a fellow Francophile asked how she should approach reading in French - should she look up every word, or just read through to get an overall sense of the story/content? Carrie Anne responded that both are wonderful, it just depends on your time and intention. I jumped in on the conversation and shared the above assignment. Carrie Anne's response completely inspired me to look at this challenge in a new light:

The reality is that this assignment is going to get me closer to my goal of total fluency, and that is a gift. On a related note, Carrie Anne has also inspired me through her l'art de VIVRE course that I am currently taking. This past week's theme was l'amour, love, and with that Carrie Anne shared just how important family and quality time with family is to the French. We spent some quality time with Tony's family last night, and as I shared my French reading challenge, his sister gave me a very simple but important reminder: Break it up into manageable chunks. Work through one novel at a time. It was advice I could have told myself, but surrounded by the warmth of family, this gentle reminder and feeling of support was just what I needed.

Ma pensée: It might be June before I get back to my art. 

La réalité possible: Ah, this thought! It has been almost three months now since I've gotten serious about pursuing my art and launching a shop on Etsy, yet I continue to tell myself it's not the right time. I'm pretty sure I've even made excuses here on the blog. I'll share the dream, then come back with one reason or another that now is not the time. Enter the incredibly inspirational Cathy Heller, host of the podcast Don't Keep Your Day Job. As I was listening yesterday, she shared the most beautiful advice about just beginning: you don't have to know the first 8 steps. You don't even have to know the first 2. All you have to do is figure out the first step, and take it. The rest will begin to come naturally. So I'm just going to take the first step and try something. I just opened Fleur de St. Louis Atelier! Right now I am selling my personalized "classics" paintings in a limited quantity of 4 per month. It is my dream to share my artistic passion with you and bring a little extra joy to your every day. I do have to honor what I can handle at this time, so I appreciate your patience as this item is hand made personally for you with lots of love. Enjoy! :) 

Ma pensée: Wait... I've also got this blog going too!!! 

La réalité possible: My plan is to be here every Sunday, just like this, sharing the content I love with you. My vision is that you will enjoy the weekly post as your rest and restore for the week ahead. 

As always, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here. I have said it before and I will say it again, this community means so much to me. I hope today's post inspires you to reframe any negative thoughts that might be swimming around in your head, and also to go for your dreams one step at a time.

Warm wishes and lots of love from me to you,

August 21, 2017

Étudiez le français avec Frantastique!

Bonjour et bon lundi à tous! Hello and happy Monday everyone! Just two more days until la rentrée, back to school for my students. It's also la retnrée for me as I continue my French studies at a local university. And speaking of studying la langue française, I discovered a resource in the past few days that I am so excited about, I had to share it with you! 

As I was reading my e-mails yesterday, I discovered two links to Frenchly, a site full of francophile content. On the top bar, I noticed a link to a daily e-mail to learn French. I am in the process of designing a plan to better incorporate my French studies into my every day, so I thought I'd give it a try! Et voila... Frantastique

I am only on jour deux but already so impressed! The lessons are designed around a little story (and it's a bit humorous). There are opportunities to listen and read en français, and excellent reviews of grammar concepts (all explained en français) + cultural tidbits to enhance your French language studies. 

Feedback is immediate and reviews are built in, personalized to your grammar and vocabulary needs. There are even opportunities to skip concepts you know you have already mastered.

Today, they shared this message with me: 
After completing the first 7 lessons of Frantastique, you’ll receive a detailed, personalized pedagogical report called the ‘Portfolio’. We hope you enjoy it, then frame it on a wall somewhere.
How fantastic to get an overall view of where you are on you French journey so that studying can become more focused and purposeful. After one month, you can use what you've gained to continue studies on your own, or you can continue by purchasing from a variety of monthly subscription options. (As always, I am sharing this with you because I am always on the lookout for awesome resources. These opinions are mine and mine alone.) 

If you are a total beginner or someone looking to fine tune your French language skills, Frantastique might just be the resource for you! Click any Frantastique link in this post or click here to get started! 

Do you know of any awesome (and potentially FREE) online resources for French language learning? I am always ready to discover new things, so share in the comments if you do! You can also refer to some of my past language learning posts for more resources and ideas:

*Coffee Break French
*Sites pour apprendre le français
*Lire en français

Warm wishes and happy language learning from me to you,

August 19, 2017

Le Bric à Brac (n°5): Odds & Ends

Bonjour, readers! I'm keeping it short and sweet today, but I think all of the things I've collected over the course of the week are really, really fun! Enjoy. :) 


⚜I am definitely going to try to make my own list of 100 dreams inspired by Anne Bogel over on Modern Mrs Darcy. Check out more about the list of 100 dreams idea here on her blog. 

⚜I am in week one of Carrie Anne of French is Beautiful's course: l'art de VIVRE. This week has been all about la beauté and how taking care of ourselves inside and out allows us to present the best version of ourselves to the world. She used the phrase "gilding the lily" which I was not familiar with, so I am going to share Urban Dictionary's definition here: 
Gilding the Lily: to adorn unnecessarily something already beautiful 
My sentence:  By putting on a lot of makeup, she was gilding the lily. (That is to say, she didn't need it because she has so much natural beauty.) 
⚜A simple cake I want to make! Géraldine Lepere of Comme Une Française shared the recipe for a quatre-quart on the Simple Sophisticate podcast. Here's how it works: weigh your eggs and add equal parts flower, sugar and butter.... et voila! She goes into more detail about how you can get creative with a few added ingredients, so have a listen! Here's an easy to follow YouTube video I found for making quatre-quart cake! Stork is the brand of butter he's using, but you can use any butter you'd like! :) 

⚜As I've mentioned before, the community of fellow francophiles, creatives, learners and passion followers is why I love Fleur de St. Louis as much as I do. Mon amie Mélissa from Australia recently sent me some francophile videos, and this one made me laugh. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! You can follow Mélissa on Instagram @modernlanguagelearners. She is amazing! 

J'espère que vous passez un très bon week-end! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Warm wishes from me to you,

August 16, 2017

Follow your dreams and doors will open.

Today I met with one of my professors that will be working with me this semester as I begin to take steps toward my dream of finishing my BA in French. She was so welcoming and encouraging, and as I walked out of her office I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I am currently in the exact place I am meant to be at this moment. 

I got to this place because I made a decision to stop thinking/wondering about what my life might be if I followed the passions that speak to me and took action. I stopped fighting against what my heart was telling me and I began to let it take me downstream. I continued dreaming, but partnered it with doing. Since I made that decision to pursue my passions, so many doors have opened for me.

I got to that meeting with my professor because I started asking questions about what it would look like to continue my studies in French. I asked an acquaintance who put my question out to colleagues on Facebook. From there, a local university reached out and I felt an inviting warmth. I started setting up meetings, filling out applications, making a plan... but it didn't feel like work. Of course I put a lot of time and effort into it, but because it was all in the name of a dream I have had for many years now, it came naturally.

A few days ago I saw a friend who I haven't seen in a while. She told me that she noticed a positive change in me, that I was singing a whole different tune than I was singing this time last year. Those words meant the world to me, because not only am I noticing those changes in myself but I am projecting a much better version of myself out into the world.

I was inspired to share this story with you as I recently started listening to the podcast Don't Keep Your Day Job with Cathy Heller. The first several episodes have all had a similar theme: get clear about what it is you really want in life and then take action. Don't just dream it, do it. And then share your story.

I'm on my journey now, and I feel so incredibly energized. It is my sincere hope that in sharing my story with you here on Fleur de St. Louis that you will feel inspired to do, to take action toward whatever it is that you are carrying in your heart. Don't write it off as impossible. Just see where it takes you, and I am confident doors will open for you too. 

And one final note that can be challenging: be patient. The doors might not open right away. One of my favorite bloggers Shannon Ables touched on this in her weekly newsletter on Friday. Her words say it so beautifully that I wanted to share them with you:

"Isn't that a wonderful lesson to always remember: Sometimes the outcomes we want take time. Sometimes we need to trust what we don't want to hear at the moment, "you're not ready, the situation you are hoping for isn't ready for you", is actually what will better serve us down the road. If you are hearing just those phrases, take it as a nudging to enjoy the life you have right now. Savor it, jump in head first and make the most of it because as we know, life's path can change without expectation, and often for the better. So why not be someone who had it good before, but now has it quite wonderful now, and you can celebrate because you know you made the most of both chapters."

The professor I mentioned in the beginning left me with some simple but powerful advice: "Just enjoy." Wherever you are on your journey, enjoy it as it unfolds. As Shannon communicated through her newsletter, I believe that most of the time there is amazing in store, something that we may have never even imagined. 

There are so many wonderful people who have been encouraging me along the way. If you have something you are thinking about taking action on but you just need that nudge, send me an e-mail or leave a comment below. I would love to talk to you so that we can encourage each other on our journeys to live the life of our dreams.

Warmest wishes! 
Happy dreaming AND doing from me to you,

August 14, 2017

August Giveaway: A personal creation from me to you!

Bonjour, readers! It has been such a wonderful experience connecting with you on a more personal level through this summer of Fleur de St. Louis giveaways. I'm hoping to do the same again next summer! :) June's giveaway featured creativity, July's giveaway featured learning, and so it would only be fitting that August's giveaway feature wellness. I have found that at the heart of feeling well is doing what you love. This month I'm sharing one of my passions with you. 

I've been getting back to my art lately. My bullet journal offers a wonderful creative outlet, but I also love watercolor (l'aquarelle in French - I adore this word). Reading Rae Dunn's France: Inspiration du Jour and Kate Schelter's Classic Style really inspired me to get back to it, and I am incredibly grateful.

(Click images for links to these beautiful books.) 

I intended to paint often on our European adventure and it just didn't happen as I'd imagined it would. When we got home and settled back in to every day life, I was craving it big time. One day I completely lost track of time, playing with my new Prima Marketing watercolor sets and painting a few of my favorite things. 

(Click the image for a link to these little watercolor "confections".)

(I hung my "classics" next to my closet to enjoy each day as I am getting dressed.)

It was so much fun, I asked a few of my closest friends if they would be willing to send me pictures of 10 to 12 of their "classics". Below you see my friend Megan's classics. I especially love the little tub of Vaseline. So her! She's planning to frame hers, too. :) 

There's something so special about creating a unique piece for someone that is 100% them. I would LOVE to do this for one of you! Here's how to enter the August giveaway:

Between now and Friday, August 18 at midnight CST, leave a comment here on the blog or on Instagram with your name and the first item that comes to mind when you think of your "classics". 

Ex: Lauren - navy and white striped anything! 

Tag a friend who you think might enjoy the Fleur de St. Louis community for a bonus entry! I will announce the winner on Saturday, August 19 and get in touch with you so that I can get started on your "uniquely you" art piece! I am so excited to share this passion with you!

Warm wishes and bon chance from me to you,

August 13, 2017

Petits Moments: Finding the Flexibility to Change

I'm pretty much always seeking out new information and experiences. Thursday evening in my yoga class, my very wise teacher talked about how easy it is to be fixed in one certain way of doing things and not feel the flexibility to change. While she was referring to our practice on the mat, it is the ability for yoga to transform your life off the mat that truly amazes me. 

That idea of being fixed? I felt that for a while. I felt fixed in the way my life was. Even though I had other passions and dreams to explore I felt stuck, like my life could only be this one certain way. 

It's funny, but the more I seek out information and experiences, the more life speaks to me. I felt a little lightbulb go off as I listened to my yoga teacher's words, but it wasn't until listening to an episode of the podcast Happier by Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft that I understood what these words fully meant for my life.

Timing is also everything. I haven't listened to Happier in weeks, but as I am completely up to date on The Simple Sophisticate and What Should I Read Next?, I was looking for another show to accompany my morning routine. Happier has always been a favorite.

The theme of Episode 116: Staring a side hustle (which they define as something YOU create on the side that's income generating) and what that can mean for your overall happiness. They go on to explain that this feeling of having something that is YOURS, that YOU created, that YOU are in charge of is not only satisfying and empowering, but also energizing and of course a happiness boost. It's a way, the two hosts explain, "to expand your world" and "make your life bigger." Without being a risk so big you feel a loss of security, it can provide you with feelings of freedom and fun, an outlet for passions you may not get to explore in your day job.

Going back to that fixed feeling, I think this is what I didn't understand before. I didn't understand that it was possible to have it both ways - to feel secure, but to also break out of the daily grind and find the flexibility to integrate more true passion into my life.

Gretchen shares her story of how she transitioned from lawyer to writer. For her, her writing side hustle wasn't at all financial at first but eventually became her life's work. I relate to this completely. My French studies, my art, and my work here at Fleur de St. Louis are what I consider my side hustle, but at this stage I'm not receiving any financial benefits. What I am receiving is a wealth of inspiration, increased self-love, and the growth of a supportive community that has enriched my life more than I imagined possible. Of course I would love to turn these passions into something that gives me the financial freedom to travel more and continue to explore what it means to live your best possible life. That's the dream, and since I found the flexibility to invite change into what once felt fixed, I feel that I am one step closer each and every day. 

I hope today's petit moment brought you some inspiration as you are enjoying your beautiful Sunday morning. If you're feeling fixed as I once felt (and not very far in the past), I hope you begin to feel that you have the power to make your life anything you want it to be. Move in the direction of your dreams, and you will invite the change that you are seeking. I truly believe that. 

I will see you tomorrow, lundi, with a special treat! I'm announcing the final Fleur de St. Louis giveaway of summer. :)

Until then, warm wishes from me to you!

August 11, 2017

Le Bric à Brac: Odds & Ends (n°4)

Bonjour mes amis! Happy Friday! I've got another bric à brac for you today. Does this photo have you curious? In reality, I am 0% French (or if I have any French in me it is very, very little). My family is predominantly German. While France might not be in my genes it's definitely in my heart, so it was fun to find out how French I am with this Talk in French quiz: "How French are you?" 75% "French-ness"! I'll take it! Enjoy this very short and amusing quiz. I'd love to know in the comments, how French are you?? ;-) 

And speaking of the French, after receiving your quiz results, stay a little while longer on Talk in French. Frédéric has another fun article for all of my fellow Francophiles with an inner French girl/guy. Here are 10 myths about French women. I've always been particularly curious about #8, but a French friend recently confirmed for me that this is absolument faux! She shared that French women really don't like any hair that isn't on their head! He's also got a version about French men

A red lip and short red nails are très français! I cannot get enough of this Sisley Paris Phyto-Lip Twist (18 Tango) as recommended by Every Day Parisian. Read this post from one of my favorite skincare companies Blissoma! They are shining a spotlight on the red lip which can "[evoke] passion, love, strength, and courage" and sharing lots of beautiful healthy options. 

And while we are on the topic of all things French... there are still a few days left in The Simply Luxurious Life's French week! I thoroughly enjoyed Monday's podcast with guest Janine Marsh, author of the newly released book My Good Life in France. Shannon also shared Janine's must read blog for francophiles The Good Life in France. I am anxious to dive in to both the book and the blog! 

(Click image for a link to the book!)


Shifting gears a bit, I found a few great links to partner with some of my most recent posts.

If you enjoyed reading about developing your personal style from within, pop on over to the Distant Francophile where she is also talking about personal style as a way to communicate to the world

I have been reflecting a lot lately and shared a list of questions I've been asking myself to find inspiration and motivation. This article from Entrepreneur offered a few more questions to ponder:

What is your ultimate dream; the thing you want more than anything?

What is your true calling in life?

Merci beaucoup for reading. I come across so many fun and interesting things and it is a joy to share my favorites with you! 

Warmest of wishes from me to you
and bon weekend!

August 9, 2017

Four months of Fleur de St. Louis + Goals for this school year

Bonjour readers, and happy Wednesday! I hope you have had a beautiful week so far. My week has been incredibly busy, but I have been finding moments to relax and enjoy whether that be sitting down with a good book, playing with my watercolors, or enjoying French Week on the Simply Luxurious Life! (I mentioned this a few posts back if you are interested in learning more.)

It dawned on me a few days ago that I had completely missed celebrating three months on Fleur de St. Louis. The end of June found Tony and me enjoying Parisian summer days and getting engaged! It's no wonder that post slipped my mind as I was taking in every moment of some of life's most beautiful experiences. 

As the school year fast approaches, I want to take some time to reflect on where Fleur de St. Louis is now (4 months in) and share some of my goals for this school year. 

July was a slower month here on the blog as we spent the first half of the month on our European adventure and the second half of the month transitioning back into our every day lives in St. Louis. While I posted fewer times than I would have liked in the month of July, I feel it was a month of quality over quantity. Some of my favorite posts yet came in July. It was a true joy to share our engagement story, keeping those memories fresh for a lifetime. I opened up about a personal growth journey in my perfection post, and really enjoyed exploring personal style below the surface. 

A few exciting milestones: I was tickled to have my Nathaniel Reid post featured on their Facebook page, and this morning I woke up to Sézane sharing my photo and account on their Instagram page. I love spreading the love of my favorite things here on the blog, and when they give that love back it means more to me than I can express. Fleur de St. Louis is about building a community for those pursuing their passions and it is incredibly exciting to feel that community growing more every day. 

As a new school year begins, I have been thinking a lot about the shift from summer and what that looks like for my life and my goals. As I mentioned in my fiftieth post, "I'm never bored now - so many ideas, and they keep coming!" I will be honest in saying that this is both energizing and overwhelming. Sometimes I struggle to keep up with the momentum of my mind, so I always make a conscious effort to pause and reflect on how to maintain the fire of my passions while also finding balance in the every day. Here are a few of my goals for doing just that this year: 

Be purposeful about setting aside time for myself from day one. Whether it's a podcast and power walk after work to wind down into my evening (The Simple Sophisticate and What Should I Read Next? are my favorites), a yoga class, or time to sit and read/write at my one of my favorite coffee shops, I know scheduling "me" time into my week is something that really helps me feel balanced. This year I want to make sure to commit to these things when I say I am going to. That will mean pausing the grading or taking a homework break even when I'm not at a point of completion. One thing I've learned is that what truly needs to get done will aways get done, and taking these breaks only improves my outlook and productivity. 

Prioritize goals to meet my needs in the moment. Teaching. Blogging. Finishing my BA in French. Pursuing my art and potentially opening an Esty shop. There is a lot that I want to explore and accomplish, but they don't all need to happen right now. Giving my best to my students is always my number one priority. Beyond that, I plan to pursue my passions by focusing on my French studies and blogging when I can, understanding the posts may not come out as often as I'd like. I know that in this moment, the art and Etsy shop have to be put on hold. I want to make sure when I go for it I can put my best into it, and I know that now is not the moment. It's OK to hold some things for later. It's exciting to know I have projects to look forward to. 

Continue to dream. "What if...?" I recently made a page in my bullet journal with this title, and it's been so fun to write down my dreams, even the implausible ones. I believe it is our dreams that keep us inspired, that keep us propelling forward and striving to live our best lives. In the midst of everything, I never want to lose sight of dreaming as you never know what might just materialize.


I chose this photo of me at the Jardin du Palais Royal specifically for this post. I'm standing on one of the iconic black and white striped Colonnes de Buren. Obviously the one I chose to stand on was pretty easy to conquer, but not the easiest. There were shorter columns, but also much taller columns. That said, it is possible to stand on any one of these columns. Some just might require a little more work, involving climbing or a lift from somebody. I think life goals and dreams work in a similar way. Some come easily with little effort. Others take time, hard work, and maybe even a little assistance. None are impossible to achieve. 

I am so looking forward to more adventures with Fleur de St. Louis and another successful school year. I've got a few "columns to climb" but I know if I keep my mind to it, eventually I will be "standing on top" and realizing my dreams.  

Warmest wishes from me to you as you set goals and pursue your passions.
I am so happy you are here for this journey!

August 7, 2017

My Francophile Journey

"So, what is it that inspired your passion for all things French?"

I get asked this question often, so it was fun to truly pause and reflect on my francophile journey. Anyone that knows me knows of my passion for all things French. I study the French language. I decorate my spaces with Eiffel Towers and fleur de lis. I read about France constantly. I dream of travel in France and want to make it a priority to get there as often as I can. I gravitate toward others with similar passions for all things French. But where, you ask, did this deep seated love of all things French originate?

(Around our home.)

I remember being 11 years old and getting my first taste of the French language in a trimester long introductory French course with Mlle Zink. This was followed by a trimester of introductory German and a trimester of introductory Spanish, but I was antsy to get back to French. I knew immediately this was the language for me. I remember wandering the aisles of Target with my mom and picking up a silver Eiffel Tower lamp base for my bedside table (I still have it). This started a very intense Eiffel Tower collection that continues to this day. It has become a tradition for family, friends and students to give me Eiffel Tower gifts from ornaments to notepads to tea sets. 

(Gifts I received from my 2nd grade students.)

I think this paints a pretty clear picture of what France was for me in the beginning. More than anything, it was the symbol of a dream. I knew Paris was this beautiful city full of pastries and fashion and incredible monuments. I dreamed of travel. I dreamed of a world outside of what I experienced in my every day life.

As I continued my studies in middle school and through all four years of high school, that passion became rooted in a love of the French language. I loved that it was a language of beauty, and the elegant way words rolled off my tongue. I got my first opportunity to travel to Paris on an EF Tour when I was 16. It was everything I had dreamed of and more. At 18, my family hosted a French exchange student from Lyon, and then I traveled to stay with her and her mom the following summer. It was incredible experience immersing myself in the language and culture. I continued my studies through Sophomore year of college (minoring in French), and then picked back up last fall at the Alliance Française de St. Louis I believed everything sounded better in French, and I still do. This coming fall, I will begin to work toward my dream of finishing my degree en françaisI have always wanted to learn more and more with an ultimate goal of fluency in French.

(Everything really does sound better in French.)

As I grow into the adult version of me, those original reasons for loving all things French remain, but a new and deeper meaning has emerged. For me, France is now also about a way of living. I admire the way the French take pleasure in life's simplicities. I admire the way they value time with family and friends and create clear work/life boundaries. I admire their passion for aesthetics in the home and in style. I love their never ending thirst for knowledge and their commitment to keeping the personal, personal (the French love an air of mystery). This passion that was once a symbol and then a love of language became intertwined with a desire to explore cultures other than my own and ultimately live well. This idea of living well has now manifested in a passionate journey to create the life of my dreams. 

I hope this post helped to answer this question for all of those who have been wondering. Fellow Francophiles, it would be so fun to know about the origins of your passion for all things French. Comment or e-mail me at I would be delighted to hear your story!

Warm wishes from me to you.
Merci, always, for being here,

PS: After writing this post, I was inspired to contact the teacher whose class created the spark that ignited my passions (15 years ago). We have a coffee date in just a few weeks. :) I truly believe that when you are pursuing your passions and building the life of your dreams, connections and opportunities present themselves in unexpected ways. This is one more example of that for me. À bientôt! 

August 6, 2017

Must Share Francophile Finds!

Bonjour, encore! I've got two petits posts up today because both of these were must shares. If you haven't checked out my post about the new French is Beautiful L'art de VIVRE online course, be sure to check it out here

Now for another exciting francophile find - Shannon Ables of the Simply Luxurious Life is kicking off her 2nd annual French Week aujourd'hui! Shannon explains that this week will offer posts "full of French-inspired ideas, conversation and insights on the culture that piques our interest" + three podcast episodes featuring a French inspired guest (search The Simple Sophisticate on iTunes) and MORE! 

Shannon's Sunday francophile treats include a luxurious French linen giveaway and a post featuring her 10 all-time favorite French books, which you know I adore! Some of these I have read, some are on my francophile bookshelf waiting to be enjoyed. You can find a list of my favorite books with French flair here (always being updated with new discoveries). 

Prenez-plaisir! Enjoy French Week with Shannon! 


Joignez-vous à moi! Join me!

(Image from Carrie Anne's French is Beautiful - click for a direct link to her page.)

Bonjour readers, and happy Sunday! I hope it's a beautiful Sunday wherever you are. Here in St. Louis it's 68 degrees and overcast. We've got the coffee made and the record player on, and we can feel Fall slowly coming. It's my favorite time of year so I am so excited!

Another thing I am so excited about? Carrie Anne James of French is Beautiful launched a new course offering today that I am delighted to share with you! I have already featured Carrie's French Weekend e-mail subscription (FREE - simply subscribe on her site), and aujourd'hui she announced a 4 week online course that will cover topics in French beauty, style, love, and wellness: L'art de VIVRE

I've already secured my spot and it would be so fun if you would join me! Simply head over to her site via this link and sign up maintenant! I've never come across a francophile experience quite like this and my inner French girl couldn't miss this opportunity!

Warm wishes de moi à vous

August 5, 2017

"Le Brunch" in Paris

Coucou readers, and happy Saturday! 

I'm here! I missed my Wednesday and Friday posts this week as I have been doing a lot of planning: some early wedding planning, back to school planning, and I even have some plans in the works to follow my dreams of further pursuing my passion for the French language. 

Does it sound like a lot? It's a lot. I've been getting through with the help of a simple mantra I learned earlier this week: "Things always work out for me." I know, it sounds a little overconfident, but the intention behind this mantra is to remind yourself that things will be accomplished and come together even if it's not in the way you originally envisioned. During overwhelming times this is really important for me to remember. 

And a little brunch break to breathe and recharge wouldn't hurt either...

Inspired by a delicious brunch with my friends Thursday morning at Half and Half here in St. Louis, I thought maybe it was time to bring "le brunch" in Paris to you! As Tory Hoen explains in her 2010 article on the Hip Paris Blog, "le brunch" has become part of Parisian culture just in the past several years. When Tony and I were in Paris, we took our brunch pretty seriously. One of my favorite meals, I had listed more brunch spots in my bullet journal guide to Paris than I did spots for any other meal. 

The first spot we tried: Claus Paris. This brunch spot made its way to the top of my list after it appeared on the Every Day Parisian Paris Guide, as well as the Lost in Cheeseland Paris Guide. Being two of my most sought after resources for everything Paris, I knew we couldn't go wrong. We didn't. :) Claus opens at 8:00am on weekdays, and so we decided to make our way over around that time. I'm really happy we did, because we were immediately asked if we had a reservation. I got nervous not knowing this would be needed, but being there as early as we were (and on a weekday) it worked out fine. We were actually seated right away in the cozy upstairs area complete with an open window to Paris and throw pillows for a little extra coziness. 

My order: Le Français
*Boisson chaude - I chose café crème.
*Jus de fruit frais - I chose fresh squeezed orange juice.
*Assortiment de 3 mini viennoiseries 
*Yogourt bio fait maison

(A delicious brunch at Claus)

Second spot: the classic Angelina salon de thé, bien sûr!  Once frequented by the likes of Coco Chanel and famous for its decadent chocolat chaud, I knew this was one spot I couldn't miss. Traditional and elegant, there was definitely a contrast from Claus' modern vibes. I was in heaven taking in my ornate surroundings as I sipped the richest cup of chocolat chaud I have ever had. My order was delivered on a small tiered serving stand for one. I felt pampered and I loved every moment. 

My order: Petit-déjeuner Parisien
*Chocolat chaud
*Jus d'orange
*Mini-viennoiseries: croissant, pain au chocolat, pain aux raisins
*Du pain avec beurre, confiture maison, miel 

(At Angelina - one of my favorite photos of me in Paris)

Finalement: Coquelicot in Montmartre. This was another spot recommended on the Every Day Parisian Paris Guide and a wonderful way to begin our morning exploration of the beautiful Montmartre district. 

My order:
*A bowl of chocolate chaud (You read that correctly and it was as amazing as it sounds.)
*A slice of brioche
*Half baguette
*Butter, jam, honey
*Fresh squeezed orange juice 

(Exploring Montmartre - Sacré-Coeur)

Are you noticing any patterns? A hot drink with an assortment of breads and spreads along with a refreshing fresh squeezed juice... I delighted in this combination time and time again because for me it was a dream. This is my favorite breakfast combination and it appears it is a favorite of the French aussi, so when in Paris...

Do you have any favorite brunch spots in Paris? I would love to hear your recommendations in the comments. Have a lovely August weekend. Maybe you will even make it to a favorite brunch spot near you. :)

Warm wishes from me to you,

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